Message by Laura Saldanha on her experience at the Ruben Centre

I can’t believe my 12 months at Ruben Centre has come to an end. I came here with little knowledge about the culture and what exactly I was supposed to be doing, but I was welcomed so warmly by all the staff at the centre and quickly felt a part of the team. Freddy the Occupational Therapist had already done an incredible job in increasing the size of the Therapy Department and I came at the right time to assist in managing the increasing client load.

I was the first Physiotherapist to join the Ruben Centre team so I took on the role of assessing the Health Centre to see where the Physiotherapy service could be utilised. I was able to identify areas in Ante-natal and Post-natal care as well as start up the Physiotherapy musculoskeletal service and expand the Paediatric service. Our average Paediatric treatment sessions per month increased from 235 to 339 and I was able to provide over 250 musculoskeletal Physiotherapy services over the 12 months. I also developed resources and provided education sessions for the Midwives and Nursing staff to improve their services to women.

I tried a stint of film directing when I saw the need for more child health education for mothers. With the assistance of some other staff members we created an educational video which will be played at the Centre covering areas like developmental milestones, nutrition, dental hygiene and first aid in the hope to reduce or prevent illness and disease in children.

Over the 12 months I had a mentoring role for the Occupational Therapist. I saw his clinical reasoning, treatment planning skills and overall confidence grow. The main aim of this volunteering position was to localise the position which I was successfully able to do. We hired a local Physiotherapist a month ago and I have been busy orientating and training him to continue the Physiotherapy role here at Ruben Centre.

As I reflect on the past year I have to mention how much I have learnt from all the staff and clients I have interacted with. Each and every one of them has impacted my life and their strength and resilience throughout all of their life’s challenges has been more than inspiring.

I know that I leave the department in very capable, passionate and caring hands. I will miss this amazing place and all the beautiful people, but it will always be close to my heart.

Till next time.

By Laura Saldanha

Ruben Centre